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Philosophy Versus Ideology -- Why They Are Not the Same

Updated: Feb 13

An assemblage of concern

The terms "philosophy" and "ideology" are often used synonymously. In these cases, things are a bit more complicated. Allow me to explain:

"Ideology" can be identical to "philosophy", but it doesn't have to be the other way around as well. Ideology is simply a system of beliefs, or philosophies, that a person or a group has. In that specific sense, we all have our own philosophies. Whether we're aware of our own ideologies/philosophies is a different subject.

The term "philosophy" is a far greater term than ideology. Not in importance, necessarily, but in what it actually covers -- far more than belief or opinion towards something or someone. Philosophy is not only a belief but also a method for understanding reality. Understanding reality using philosophy, of course, or logical reasoning. The philosopher is a researcher of truth and may use his or her reason in order to study reality on the more rational and existential level.

On the other hand, the ideologist is naturally biased towards his or her own ideology, and may oppose anything and/or anyone who opposes their ideology as well. Unlike the philosopher, they might not desire to be proven wrong in the name of reality.

If we were all be considered as philosophers, just because we have a philosophy of life, it wouldn't make sense. It would be senseless because not everyone philosophizes, or in other words, not anyone is interested in researching reality from a rational and existential standpoint. From this, we can conclude two things: that we are all "ideologists" in theory, but not everyone's a philosopher. We all have beliefs. Can there be a human being who does not have at least one?

The goal of philosophizing is not necessarily to foster an ideology. But rather to try and see beyond delusional beliefs. If anything, the philosophers may use ideology as a means to an end, or in different words -- as an indication to reality or a theory about it. Should they find their ideology to not be correlated with reality, the serious philosophers will seek to discard their beliefs in favor of an ideology that resonates with reality far more clearly. It is all done in the name of truth.

A philosopher who chooses to maintain an unrealistic, illogical ideology can be regarded delusional. How can a good truth-seeker choose to remain delusional? Should it be false, why would the philosopher cling to it any longer? Ideology for them is either a tool or a product, not necessarily something to aspire to, especially if its with great fault.

Usually, it is the philosopher who goes the extra mile to understand things, not the ideologist. While the philosopher may be an ideologist, reality may be more important to them. They may hold specific ideologies with greater attachment, like political ones, but reality is in the main priority for them.

The ideologist might as well find themselves in Plato's Cave. Their self-worth might be too embedded in their beliefs to let go, even if a counterargument is reasonably presented to them. That is unwise and can make you deny reality.

Every creator of an ideology is a philosopher (AKA, a formulator of ideas), but not every philosopher aims to create them for their own sake. That's why not every philosopher is biased toward one ideology or the other. As truth-seekers, they seek just that, the truth. Your own beliefs might as well be blinders.

For that matter I formualted the mindset of a butcher in order to be a better philosopher. Why be attached to poorly-thought mental products?

For them, ideologies are not necessarily an accurate representation of reality. But they can contain logic we can all learn from, correct? Hence, I studied Nazism at an Israeli school. It is the nature of ideologies to serve one or more purposes.

"The truth" might as well be bigger than any religion or belief. It might as well not have any "gatekeepers" claiming to own it, either. In the philosopher's view, a great way to be closer to it is to be skeptical and to criticize. That might as well include people of all demographics; Those who will be philosophized one way or another.

The ideology creator might not necessarily be interested in the truth if their ideology is more important to them than reality. By this logic, people who are primarily ideologists would be pretty poor philosophers. Why? because they may be more concerned with defending their own beliefs than with maintaining an open mind. How is a good philosopher supposed to function without an open mind?

It isn't to say that it is wrong to have ideologies or to believe in religions (which can be regarded as theistic ideologies). I'm not even saying that they are all completely false. I'm arguing that since anything can be the subject of philosophical research, then anything could be proven wrong. That includes the beliefs that are dearest to our hearts. Of course, that excludes anything whose truthfulness cannot be disputed in any way. How much notions are undisputable? Very few, in theory.

Will you prefer knowing your partner cheated on you? Or would you stick to your belief that they are loyal, even though you might have a good reason to think otherwise?

I wouldn't be surprised if other philosophers find out that their ideologies have been disproven and carry on with their lives casually. I think that a good philosopher would not mind being wrong when that could be used as an opportunity to get closer to reality.

An ideologist, on the other hand, might feel threatened when there's a good case against their own, original philosophies. I'm not sure why, actually. I'm assuming they want to avoid delusions as well. Unless I'm giving them too much the benefit of the doubt?

Like a defeated villain, the philosopher will rise once again from the dust. They will haunt the grounds, in hopes that the truth will eventually be found, and thus conquered. The more honest they are in their line of work, the less likely they are to retire alive. They may either give up on finding the truth, or philosophize until their last day alive. Philosophizing requires a lot of dedication, after all. Dedication that does not necessarily has to do with emotional attachments to ideas and beliefs.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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